A Myanmar court on Tuesday sentenced a New Zealand bar manager and his business associates to 2 1/2 years in prison for insulting Buddhism in an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.
Philip Blackwood, Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin were given two years of hard labour for insulting religion and six months for disobeying an order from a public servant.
After the sentencing, Blackwood told reporters as he was getting into a police van that he would appeal.
“The verdict is fair. This punishment will deter others from insulting Buddhism or other religions,” said Paw Shwe, a member of a Buddhist organisation.
The three were arrested in December after the image was used to promote the tapas bar and lounge, and have been detained in Myanmar’s notorious Insein prison. The online ad was removed and an apology was posted.